On This Day
1856 – Scenes of Clerical Life, the first work of fiction by the author later known as George Eliot, is submitted for publication.
Scenes of Clerical Life is the title under which George Eliot’s first published work of fiction, a collection of three short stories, was released in book form; it was the first of her works to be released under her famous pseudonym. The stories were first published in Blackwood’s Magazine over the course of the year 1857, initially anonymously, before being released as a two-volume set by Blackwood and Sons in January 1858. The three stories are set during the last twenty years of the eighteenth century and the first half of the nineteenth century over a fifty-year period. The stories take place in and around the fictional town of Milby in the English Midlands. Each of the Scenes concerns a different Anglican clergyman, but is not necessarily centred upon him. Eliot examines, among other things, the effects of religious reform and the tension between the Established and the Dissenting Churches on the clergymen and their congregations, and draws attention to various social issues, such as poverty, alcoholism, and domestic violence.
Born On This Day
1884 – May Brahe, Australian composer (d. 1956)
Mary Hannah (May) Brahe (née Dickson) (6 November 1884 – 14 August 1956) was an Australian composer, best known for her songs and ballads. Her most famous song by far is “Bless This House”, recorded by John McCormack, Beniamino Gigli, Lesley Garrett and Bryn Terfel. According to Move.com.au: “She was the only Australian woman composer to win local an international recognition before World War II,” having “290 of her 500 songs published. Of these, 248 were written under her own name, the remainder under aliases.
Mary Hannah Dickson was born in East Melbourne in 1884. She was known as May from an early age. Her father was native born and her mother Scottish. She studied piano with her mother, then at Stratherne Girls’ School, Hawthorn, and later with Mona McBurney and the singer Alice Rebotarro.
In 1903 she married Frederick Brahe, the couple had two sons and a daughter. By 1910 she was playing in a trio with George W. L. Marshall-Hall, and accompanying singers. In 1912 she left for London to establish herself as a composer, leaving her children behind. Her first success was the 1915 song “Down Here,” beginning “It’s Quiet Down Here” with lyrics by P.J. O’Reilly. In 1914 she returned to Australia, but only for long enough to bring her family back to England.
Brahe published under her married name and nine pseudonyms. This allowed more frequent publication, as publishers were reluctant to publish more than four of her songs in a year. The names she composed under included: Mervyn Banks, Mary Hannah Brahe, Donald Crichton, Stanley Dickson, Alison Dodd, Stanton Douglas, Eric Faulkner, Wilbur B. Fox, Henry Lovell, Mary Hanna Morgan, and George Pointer.
In 1919 her husband was killed in a motor accident. In 1922, in London, she married George Albert Morgan, an Australian-born actor. When her publisher was taken over by Boosey & Hawkes in 1925, she became one of their few composers on an annual retainer. In the next 18 years she published 400 compositions, mainly ballads. Dame Nellie Melba, Peter Dawson, John Charles Thomas and other singers recorded her songs, many of which were chosen as items for school concerts in the United Kingdom, Australia and the United States.
She made settings of poems by William Blake, Robert Browning, Robert Herrick, Walter de la Mare, Dorothea Mackellar and living lyricists such as Helen Taylor, Madge Dickson (her sister), and P. J. O’Reilly. Helen Taylor was her most frequent collaborator, including “Bless This House” (1927). This simple song became world-famous in recordings by singers such as John McCormack, Peter Dawson, Jan Peerce, Beniamino Gigli and Josef Locke, through to Vera Lynn, Doris Day and Perry Como, and continues its popularity in the present day, with recordings by Benjamin Luxon, Leontyne Price, Lesley Garrett and Bryn Terfel.
She wrote musical comedies, including Castles in Spain, with a libretto by Sydney and Muriel Box. She returned to Australia in 1939 and lived in semi-retirement. She lived comfortably from song royalties. She died at Bellevue Hill, New South Wales in 1956; she was survived by two sons and a daughter of her first marriage and a son of her second.
In 2018, it was revealed that her daughter Marita, under her married surname Perigoe, had spent the Second World War in London believing that she was a Nazi spy. Perigoe had in fact been duped by an agent of MI5 in what was known as the Fifth Column operation.
By Richard Gonzalez, NPR: Novelist Ernest J. Gaines Dies At Age 86
Ernest James Gaines (January 15, 1933 – November 5, 2019) was an American author whose works have been taught in college classrooms and translated into many languages, including French, Spanish, German, Russian and Chinese. Four of his works were made into television movies.
His 1993 novel, A Lesson Before Dying, won the National Book Critics Circle Award for fiction. Gaines was a MacArthur Foundation fellow, was awarded the National Humanities Medal, and was inducted into the French Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (Order of Arts and Letters) as a Chevalier.
Smorgasbord Blog Magazine: Weekly digest for Smorgasbord Blog Magazine, on November 4, 2019
By Marion Owen, Lagniappe (LAN-yap) = A little bit extra: How are rose hips related to broccoli? Red peppers, too.
By Marion Owen, Lagniappe (LAN-yap) = A little bit extra: Equinox explained. And you need this cool, “daylight-darkness” chart for your fridge
Matt Goff, Sitka Native Show: Sitka Nature Show #194 – Gwen Baluss (encore)
Paul Militaru, Images
By Rocky Parker, Beyond Bylines: Looking for retail industry news? We’re sold on these 8 sites.
By Sandra Gonzalez CNN News: Our poor, unfortunate souls are grateful for Queen Latifah’s Ursula in ‘The Little Mermaid Live’
By Karen Longwell, NiemanLab: When a newspaper struggles, you don’t have to close it — you can give it to its community In Quebec, a community facing the death of its local paper instead worked together to rebuild it as a community nonprofit.
The Rural Blog Spot: New map shows detailed flow of food between U.S. counties; Class-action lawsuit filed against T-Mobile and others over fake ringtones on calls to rural areas and more ->
Atlas Obscura: For Sale: A Building Painted by Norman Rockwell; The Afterlives of Buffalo’s Vacant Churches and more ->
Gastro Obscura: How a fruit basket from Mao made China mad for mangoes; The Bacardi Bomber and more ->
By Lauren Cocking, OZY: Love Rom-Coms? Check Out These 10 Rom-Com Books
Why you should care
Because you’ve watched ‘Pretty Woman’ 12 times already, it’s time for something new.
By Rhonda K. Garelick, The Public Domain Review: Loie Fuller and the Serpentine
Open Culture: Martin Scorsese Explains the Difference Between Cinema and Movies; Comic Sans Turns 25: Graphic Designer Vincent Connare Explains Why He Created the Most Hated Font in the World; The Difference Between the United Kingdom, Great Britain and England Explained: A (Pre-Brexit) Video Explains and more ->
Ernie at Tedium: Internet Synthesis Protocol
By Courtney, The Kitchen Garden: The Best Thanksgiving Side Dish Recipes
by Kelli Foster, The Kitchn: Our 10 All-Time Most Popular Pumpkin Recipes
By Shauna Server, The Kitchn: The Story Behind New England Spider Cake: The Sweet, Quirky Cornbread with a Surprise Inside